Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Quick Facts About The Life Of Saint Joan Of Arc.

Joan of Arc was born around January 6, 1412. The exact date of Joan of Arc's birthday was not recorded but is generally accepted to be this date.

Joan was born in the little village of Domremy. Her parents Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle were peasants but lived comfortable.

Joan of Arc's childhood home in Domremy
Birthplace and childhood home of Joan of Arc as it looked in the mid 19th century.

Joan of Arc was the youngest sibling in her family. She had three older brothers: Jacquemin, Jean, and Pierre. She also had a much older sister about which little is known.

Her real name was Jehanne d'Arc. Joan of Arc is an English bastardization of her name that was never used while she was alive. She preferred to be called "Jehanne la Pucelle" or Joan the maid. At her trial Joan herself testified that: "In my town they called me Jeannette, and since I came into France I have been called Joan." To learn more about Joan's name go to Saint Joan Of Arc's Name

Joan of Arc signed her name on several letters like this...Jehanne
Signature of Saint Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was from a part of eastern France know as Lorraine.

Maps of France showing where Joan of Arc lived when she was young

Prophecy foretold that France would be saved by a maid from Lorraine. This prediction was well known in France during Joan's time and has been attributed to several prophets including the mythical Merlin.

When Saint Joan was thirteen she first heard a Voice from God in her father's garden.

Painting of Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage
Painting of Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage

Joan's Voices were St. Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

Painting of Joan of Arc with her Voices by Eugene Thirion
Joan of Arc with her Voices by Eugene Thirion

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Her voices told her she must deliver her country from the invading English. Read more about Joan's mission here.

Map of Frace during Hundred Years War when Joan of Arc was alive
Map shows part of France controlled by England and their Burgundian allies.

Joan was also told she must lead Charles VII to his coronation at Reims.

Picture of Charles VII of France
Charles VII

Joan left home at sixteen to answer her calling. She first travelled to Vaucouleuers to see Sir Robert de Baudricourt.

She made three trips to see Sir Robert Robert de Baudricourt before he agreed to aid her.

Joan of Arc leaving Vaucouleurs by Scherrer
Painting of Joan of Arc leaving Vaucouleurs by Scherrer

She traveled 375 miles in the late Winter of 1429 to Chinon to see Charles VII.

Chinon where Joan of Arc first met Charles VII
Recent photo of Chinon

Joan was able to recognize Charles with help from her Voices. Charles tested Joan by hiding himself among the crowd at his court but Joan immediately found him.

Joan was physically examined by ladies of Charles's court to prove she was a virgin. She was also questioned by Church officials for three weeks.

Joan of Arc is the youngest person in history to command the armies of a nation. After being examined, Charles officially gave Joan command of the armies of France. She was only 17.

Joan carried a banner with a picture of God and the words "Jesus Mary" written on it.

Joan of Arc with her Banner and her sword
Coalport figurine of Joan of Arc with her banner

She led her army to Orleans in late April, 1429 to lift the English siege.

Orleans as it would have looked to Joan of Arc
Orleans as it looked in Joan of Arc's time

Joan predicted she would be wounded in the exact manner that it occurred. She was wounded by an arrow above her breast during an attack upon the fort Les Tourelles. Her prediction is documented by several sources including a letter written by Charles' cousin dated fifteen days before the event.

Joan of Arc standing before the Tourelles with her banner
Painting of Joan of Arc leading the attack against Les Tourelles by Jules Lenepveu

Joan broke the siege of Orleans in only three days of fighting on May 8, 1429.

The people of Orleans began calling her the Maid of Orleans out of their love for her.

Joan was rewarded by Charles with a coat of arms. Charles himself drew the design for her coat of arms featuring a sword holding a crown with a fleur-de-lis on each side.

Original document showing coat of arms given to Joan of Arc by Charles VII

Joan of Arc won her greatest military victory at Patay on June 18, 1429. Joan's army annihilated the English force killing over 2000 while suffering almost no losses.

Joan of Arc crowned Charles VII King of France on July 17, 1429. In the great Cathedral of Reims, Joan fulfilled the central part of her mission when Charles VII was crowned King.

Picture of the Cathedral of Reims where Joan of Arc once crowned Charles VII King of France
Painting of the Cathedral of Reims around 1800 by Domenico Quaglio

Joan of Arc attempted to liberate Paris on September 8, 1429.

Joan was wounded after a long day of fighting and the attempt failed. She was hit by a bolt from a crossbow in her thigh. She refused to leave the battlefield but was forcible carried to the rear. She wanted to renew the attack the next day but was overruled by Charles.

Statue of Joan of Arc in Paris, France
Paris statue of Saint Joan of Arc

Joan spends most of the Winter of 1429 as a frustrated guest in the King's court.

In the Spring of 1430, Joan of Arc again takes the field with a small army.

Saint Joan was captured by Burgundian soldiers on May 23, 1430 at Compiègne. She fights to the end but is trapped when the drawbridge to the city is raised.

Picture of Joan of Arc being captured at Compiègne

Joan of Arc attempted to escape by leaping from a tower. She survived the 60 foot fall but was knocked unconscious and recaptured.

Joan was sold to the English for ten thousand gold francs.

Joan of Arc was taken to Rouen and put on trial for heresy in the Spring of 1431. The English paid for the trial that was run by Church officials loyal to them.

Picture of Joan of Arc at her Trial before her judges

Joan was held in a prison cell shackled to her bed. She should have been held in a Church prison guarded by women but the English refused to allow it and kept her closely guarded by their soldiers.

Joan became very ill after eating some fish on April 1, 1431.

Joan of Arc was threatened with torture unless she denied her Voices.

Painting of Joan of Arc in prison by Paul Delaroche
Painting of Joan of Arc in prison by Paul Delaroche

Joan was threatened with burning in the cemetery of St. Ouen on May 24, 1431. Pierre Cauchon and the other judges in Joan's trial knew from the start that she would burn but they needed her to publicly renounce her Voices and everything she had done.

Joan of Arc agreed to abjure on May 24, 1431. Even Joan had a breaking point and facing the fire and death was enough to get her to finally give in to the wishes of her Judges.

Joan of Arc was pronounced a relapsed heretic and sentenced to death on May 30, 1431. After Joan abjured she was not taken to a Church prison as she was promised. Instead, Cauchon and the English devised a trap so that they could say she relapsed. For three days she was threatened with rape until she resumed wearing male clothes which was enough to say she had relapsed.

Joan of Arc was burned to death on May 30, 1431. Her last words were: "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"

Painting of Joan of Arc being burned at the stake
Painting of Joan of Arc at the stake by Jules-Eugène Lenepveu

Joan of Arc's trial was overturned on July 7, 1456. In the Church's ruling, Joan was declared a martyr who was wrongly executed by corrupt partisan clergy abusing a Church trial for secular purposes.

Joan of Arc was declared venerable by Pope Leo XIII on January 27, 1894.

Joan of Arc was officially beatified by Pope Pius X on April 11, 1909.

Joan of Arc was officially canonized by Pope Benedict XV on May 16, 1920.

Joan of Arc was canonized a saint by the same Church that had once executed her for heresy.

Saint Joan of Arc feast day is celebrated on May 30.

Holy card of Joan of Arc celebrating her canonization as a Saint

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Painting of Joan of Arc with her Voices by Eugene Thirion

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